By Emily Smith and Kenneth Garger, Page 6 Reporters (Gossip), New York Post
Tom Brokaw (right) is livid over the revelation that Brian Williams lied about being in a chopper that was hit by an RPG in Iraq. Photo: AP
You know you’re in trouble when Tom Brokaw is out for your blood.
NBC’s most revered journalist is furious that Brian Williams is still in the anchor chair after he sheepishly admitted he hadn’t traveled on a helicopter hit by enemy fire.
“Brokaw wants Williams’ head on a platter,” an NBC source said. “He is making a lot of noise at NBC that a lesser journalist or producer would have been immediately fired or suspended for a false report.”
On Wednesday, Williams, 55, acknowledged that he had repeatedly said he was aboard a chopper that had been hit by a rocket-propelled grenade during a 2003 reporting trip to Iraq, when he was actually safely traveling in a different aircraft.
Brokaw, 74, was still the “Nightly News” anchor when Williams came back from his Iraq expedition — and an insider said he knew the story Williams later spouted was bunk.
“Tom Brokaw and [former NBC News President] Steve Capus knew this was a false story for a long time and have been extremely uncomfortable with it,” the source said.
NBC News execs had counseled him to stop telling the tale.
Williams still took the anchor’s seat for his “Nightly News” broadcast Thursday evening — and was working at 30 Rock all day despite calls for his dismissal. He didn’t address the issue during the broadcast.
“He is not going to be suspended or reprimanded in any way. He has the full support of NBC News,” a network source said.
Many of Williams’ colleagues believe his claim that he simply “conflated” two versions of what happened in 2003.
“There have been meetings about it all day. They are taking it very seriously,” the NBC source said.
“But we believe that Brian’s apology on the air speaks for himself. He admitted over time he conflated the events.”
NBC brass hasn’t been talking to lower-level employees about the situation, leaving people in a panic, the insider said.
“NBC bosses don’t understand how serious this is. Nobody in a leadership position is talking to the troops. Nobody has addressed it,” the source said.
One longtime NBC employee who has worked with Williams on several occasions had a few dirty words to describe the celebrated anchor, calling him a “real pompous piece of s–t.”
“He’s an a–hole,” he fumed. “He’s not a journalist. He’s a reader.”
“Oh, the fireworks that are going off inside,” he said. “It’s embarrassing. He’s the face on NBC. He’s a liar.
“Everyone knew it.”
On Friday, Brokaw responded to reports that he wanted Williams axed.
“I have neither demanded nor suggested Brian be fired,” Brokaw said in an email to The Huffington Post. “His future is up to Brian and NBC News executives.”